Hutcheson tallied $3,768,607 in net patient revenue after bad debt in January. The hospital had projected it would receive $4,597,110 in revenue, a difference of $828,503, hospital finance committee members were told on Feb. 22.
Hospital officials blame January’s disappointing profit on a rise in uncompensated care and slow reimbursements from private and government insurers along with lagging in-patient care rates.
However, Hutcheson kept its total operating expenditures down last month. The hospital spent $4.8 million in January, $396,183 less than the month’s $5.3 million expense budget.
Hutcheson is also seeing more outpatient visitors, hospital controller Denise Baker said. In January the hospital had 6,356 outpatients, 756 more than expected. Baker said outpatient services range from patients coming to Hutcheson for laboratory tests to X-rays and CT scans. To be considered an in-patient, individuals must either be admitted to the hospital for surgery or treatment, Baker said. Emergency room visits are counted separately.
She told committee members the hospital had a daily average of 24 acute care visits, two less than was projected. In January 2011, the hospital had a daily average of 33 acute care visits. The adjusted number of patient days was 3,192, 13 more than was anticipated, Baker said. Births were up too; 54 in January, three more than was estimated, according to Hutcheson’s January financial report.
Surgeries were down, according to Baker. Hutcheson projected 550 surgeries for January, but only 275 surgeries were performed last month. The hospital recently entered into a 24/7-surgery call coverage agreement with Dalton Surgical Group. Therefore, hospital officials anticipate the number of surgeries at Hutcheson will gradually increase. Dalton surgeons Steve Paynter, Richard Fromm, Jaime Ponce and Eric Manahan, came on board with Hutcheson in late 2011.
“This opens the door for our hospital system to now provide advanced surgical capabilities right here in north Georgia and allows our local physicians to now feel confident in their referrals for specialty care,” Hutcheson CEO and president Roger Forgey said in a hospital news release.